A civil debate forum for people of all persuasions (Atheists, Agnostics, Deists, Christians, and adherents of any religion)

Goto page 1, 2, 3 ... 49, 50, 51  Next

Reply to topic
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:04 pm
Reply
I am seriously questioning my atheism

Like this post
Disclaimer: This post may be out of place on the Christianity and Apologetics forum (even though it does have some relation to Christianity), if it is, I apologize and ask that it be moved to a more appropriate place on the forum. However, I do intend this thread to be a discussion, if not a debate, so I felt this was the best place for it.

As many of you know, I am an ex-evangelical Christian and a current atheist. By "atheist," I mean I lack belief in god(s) of any kind, although I do not assert that there are definitely no gods. Since departing from Christianity, everything has made so much more sense: an eternal Universe (defined as the totality of natural existence) explained existence, evolution explained the diversity of life on earth, the absence of god(s) explained the problems of evil, inconsistent revelation, and so on.

However, there is one thing that I have been unable to account for under atheism: morality. Atheists almost invariably state that moral values and duties are not objective facts, but are simply subjective statements of preference and have no ontological value. That is, of course, until we are presented with cases of true evil, such as the Holocaust, the atrocities of Pol Pot, or the horrible psychopathic serial killings of individuals like Jeffery Dahmer. Then we as atheists tacitly appeal to objective moral values and duties, saying that individuals who commit should be severely punished (even executed) for doing "evil," saying that they "knew right from wrong." But if right and wrong are simply statements of subjective opinion, then how can we say that others knew "right from wrong" and are accountable for their actions? If relativism is true, they simply had differing opinions from the majority of human beings. However, it seems obvious to me (and to the vast majority of others, theist and atheist alike) that this is absurd -- the monsters who carried out the aforementioned acts really, objectively did evil.

Given this, the only reasonable conclusion is that moral facts and imperatives exist.

However, atheism appears to offer no framework for moral facts. Because of this, a few weeks ago, I started up a discussion on Wielenbergian moral realism, which states that objective moral values are simply "brute facts" that exist without any explanation. However, others rightly pointed out that the existence of "brute facts" is ontologically problematic and that the best explanation (on atheism) is that morality is simply subjective. Additionally, even if atheistic moral facts existed, the Humeian problem of deriving an "ought" from an "is" would preclude them from acting as moral imperatives; commands which human beings are obligated to follow.

In light of these airtight logical objections to atheistic moral realism, I was forced to abandon my position on moral facts and tentatively adopt moral relativism. However, relativism still seems problematic. After all, if morality is subjective, no one person can accuse another of failing to recognize the difference between "right and wrong," however, it is obvious to me (and, I would suspect, to other atheists as well) that right or wrong really objectively (not subjectively) exist.

The only rational conclusion I can seem to come up with is that there is a (are) transcendent moral lawgiver(s) who both grounds moral facts and issues binding moral commands on all humanity; i.e., God(s). This echoes evangelical Christian philosopher William Lane Craig's moral argument, which syllogism reads:

WLC wrote:
Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist
Conclusion: Therefore, God exists


Premises 1 and 2 seem bulletproof -- (1) was demonstrated earlier in this post, leaving (2) as the only premise to attack. However, (2) seems to be as obvious as a hand in front of my face. The conclusion necessarily follows from (1) and (2), so is there any rational reason for me to reject the conclusion of the argument?

Remember, I am no believer of any kind. I am a staunch, educated, informed atheist, and I am well aware of the philosophical arguments against God(s), such as the problem of evil, the dysteleological argument, the problem of omniscience, etc. I'm also well aware of the plentiful empirical evidence against the existence of God(s), for instance, evolution, mind-body physicalism, etc. These are the reasons I reconverted from Christianity in the first place. However, I don't see way around this problem other than to accept either that our apparently obvious sense of moral facts is somehow mistaken, or that (a) theistic being(s) exist.

Debate question: Are my issues with atheism legitimate? Can atheism provide a coherent moral framework other than nihilism, relativism, or subjectivism? Do these problems really present evidence for theism? Is William Lane Craig right? Is this a real problem for atheism, or are my (our) emotions simply overriding my (our) rationality?

Feel free to present evidence for or against atheism, Christianity, or any religious or nonreligious perspective in this thread.

Goto top, bottom
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:11 pm
Reply

Like this post
Couple of things. One, it sounds like you want there to be such a thing as objective moral facts, and are therefore ready to conclude that there is an objective moral lawgiver, so you can have them. That's working backward. There may or may not be such a thing as an objective moral fact.

Next, whether there is or not, it does not follow that they need a mind to decree them. If they exist, then they exist, kind of like reality.

As for me, I take a different approach to morality, which works for me. However, many people find it ridiculous. I can present it if you want. The short version goes like this:

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
-Dalai Lama

These are objective facts, IMO. That is, unless you are a sociopath, which I doubt, it is a fact that practicing compassion will make you happy.

Many people don't consider this to be morality at all.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:23 pm
Reply

Like this post
I don't know why you feel that there has to be moral objectivity. From an atheist's point of view, it's amazing that we're even here to begin with. Everything else is secondary. As far as morals go, we are humans, we are not perfect, with that in mind, we can only do what is in our capability. There are no moral objectives whatsoever. You bring up the Holocaust, Pol Pot and Jeffrey Dahmer as moral absolutes, but they are not. Hitler, Pol Pot, and Jeffrey Dahmer certainly didn't think so. The closest that we can get to moral objectivity is by agreeing on things that have been determined to be bad for society through evolution. Things that don't help to propagate the species.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:38 pm
Reply
Re: I am seriously questioning my atheism

Like this post
Haven wrote:
Disclaimer: This post may be out of place on the Christianity and Apologetics forum (even though it does have some relation to Christianity), if it is, I apologize and ask that it be moved to a more appropriate place on the forum. However, I do intend this thread to be a discussion, if not a debate, so I felt this was the best place for it.

As many of you know, I am an ex-evangelical Christian and a current atheist. By "atheist," I mean I lack belief in god(s) of any kind, although I do not assert that there are definitely no gods. Since departing from Christianity, everything has made so much more sense: an eternal Universe (defined as the totality of natural existence) explained existence, evolution explained the diversity of life on earth, the absence of god(s) explained the problems of evil, inconsistent revelation, and so on.

However, there is one thing that I have been unable to account for under atheism: morality. Atheists almost invariably state that moral values and duties are not objective facts, but are simply subjective statements of preference and have no ontological value. That is, of course, until we are presented with cases of true evil, such as the Holocaust, the atrocities of Pol Pot, or the horrible psychopathic serial killings of individuals like Jeffery Dahmer. Then we as atheists tacitly appeal to objective moral values and duties, saying that individuals who commit should be severely punished (even executed) for doing "evil," saying that they "knew right from wrong." But if right and wrong are simply statements of subjective opinion, then how can we say that others knew "right from wrong" and are accountable for their actions? If relativism is true, they simply had differing opinions from the majority of human beings. However, it seems obvious to me (and to the vast majority of others, theist and atheist alike) that this is absurd -- the monsters who carried out the aforementioned acts really, objectively did evil.

Given this, the only reasonable conclusion is that moral facts and imperatives exist.

However, atheism appears to offer no framework for moral facts. Because of this, a few weeks ago, I started up a discussion on Wielenbergian moral realism, which states that objective moral values are simply "brute facts" that exist without any explanation. However, others rightly pointed out that the existence of "brute facts" is ontologically problematic and that the best explanation (on atheism) is that morality is simply subjective. Additionally, even if atheistic moral facts existed, the Humeian problem of deriving an "ought" from an "is" would preclude them from acting as moral imperatives; commands which human beings are obligated to follow.

In light of these airtight logical objections to atheistic moral realism, I was forced to abandon my position on moral facts and tentatively adopt moral relativism. However, relativism still seems problematic. After all, if morality is subjective, no one person can accuse another of failing to recognize the difference between "right and wrong," however, it is obvious to me (and, I would suspect, to other atheists as well) that right or wrong really objectively (not subjectively) exist.

The only rational conclusion I can seem to come up with is that there is a (are) transcendent moral lawgiver(s) who both grounds moral facts and issues binding moral commands on all humanity; i.e., God(s). This echoes evangelical Christian philosopher William Lane Craig's moral argument, which syllogism reads:

WLC wrote:
Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist
Conclusion: Therefore, God exists


Premises 1 and 2 seem bulletproof -- (1) was demonstrated earlier in this post, leaving (2) as the only premise to attack. However, (2) seems to be as obvious as a hand in front of my face. The conclusion necessarily follows from (1) and (2), so is there any rational reason for me to reject the conclusion of the argument?

Remember, I am no believer of any kind. I am a staunch, educated, informed atheist, and I am well aware of the philosophical arguments against God(s), such as the problem of evil, the dysteleological argument, the problem of omniscience, etc. I'm also well aware of the plentiful empirical evidence against the existence of God(s), for instance, evolution, mind-body physicalism, etc. These are the reasons I reconverted from Christianity in the first place. However, I don't see way around this problem other than to accept either that our apparently obvious sense of moral facts is somehow mistaken, or that (a) theistic being(s) exist.

Debate question: Are my issues with atheism legitimate? Can atheism provide a coherent moral framework other than nihilism, relativism, or subjectivism? Do these problems really present evidence for theism? Is William Lane Craig right? Is this a real problem for atheism, or are my (our) emotions simply overriding my (our) rationality?

Feel free to present evidence for or against atheism, Christianity, or any religious or nonreligious perspective in this thread.


Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist

This would mean that, if moral values/duties are indeed objective thay would have existed and applied accross all time and all societies. Clearly this is not the case. Even in our own time and society moral duties values/duties are changing - to say nothing of the changes post Enlightenment.

The only option then is that, like all other aspects of existence, morality iis part of an evolutionary process - a process of inclusion and transcendence.

For a framework to hang this idea around can I suggest you have a look at the theory of Spiral Dynamics.

My bottom line - as an atheist - is that we are biological creatures who have evolved a level of consciousness that facilites self-reflectivity - the ability to ask "Who am I?". All concepts, thoughts, ideas, beliefs etc, all those things which we utilise to build our sense of an individual self - are and can only be mental cosntructs.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:46 pm
Reply

Like this post
Heresis wrote:
I don't know why you feel that there has to be moral objectivity. From an atheist's point of view, it's amazing that we're even here to begin with. Everything else is secondary. As far as morals go, we are humans, we are not perfect, with that in mind, we can only do what is in our capability. There are no moral objectives whatsoever. You bring up the Holocaust, Pol Pot and Jeffrey Dahmer as moral absolutes, but they are not. Hitler, Pol Pot, and Jeffrey Dahmer certainly didn't think so. The closest that we can get to moral objectivity is by agreeing on things that have been determined to be bad for society through evolution. Things that don't help to propagate the species.


And by that logic, genocide doesn't propagate the species or promote the general welfare of men. Sacrificing individuals for their wealth, or on the count of their genetics, or for any other reason -- though done in the name of "the greater good" does in fact jeopardize the rights of all. In this sense, we can conclude that if people are to be respected as ends in and of themselves rather than means to an end, rights for all are accounted for.

Liberty and rights are good because they benefit everyone, not just me.

Though I am culturally conditioned to present this case, I also derive it from logic, compassion, and knowledge of world history.

On those grounds I have every right to claim moral superiority in that regard, especially in comparison with ancient systems based upon superstition and pseudo-science.

I don't need to appeal to a universal law in the sky or a sky god to assert the superiority of these views.

I acknowledge that freedom and individual rights are based upon years and years of philosophical and religious debate. I also acknowledge that governments are formed to secure these man-made rights by the consent of the governed.

Empathy and logic enforce these ideals. Moral nihilism is an absurd position -- moral relativism doesn't mean that all ideas have equal value and none are better than the rest simply because they are devised by men. What hogwash! We wouldn't say that evolution is just as correct as flat earth theory because both are creations of men. Why must we play games when it comes to moral values that are better vs. ones that are detrimental to humanity?

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:10 pm
Reply

Like this post
It's funny. I studied ethics (theological, philosophical, social) as my concentration in both undergrad and grad schools (a hundred years ago) and while I think it was a very worthwhile use of time, I ended up believeing that objective morality, if it exists, is based in biology or psychology: we appear to have a hardwired sense of empathy. From this we construct more detailed morals, mores, codes, laws, culture etc. The latter is subjective, if collective, but the former (empathy) seems to be objective. How to translate it concretely is inexorably subjective/collective, provisional, and well, evolutionary. It is our social and human task to do so, and the results we call civilization.
I think we can credit that hardwired empathy to God or to nature per our own inclinations.

While the above makes it clear that I don't think of God as a giver of laws, or look to religion to be a rulebook, I do think that religion can function aspirationally and culturally, as a reposit for and locus of our god concept which works as a vessel for our best moral leanings and discoveries (and in faith terms may have their source and object in God). Religion sacrilizes and ritualizes these, and embeds them in our human narrative mythos, in a way that transcends state and culture. And doing so might make our moral strivings that much richer.

When I think of people like reinhold neibuhr, walker percy, evelyn waugh, graham greene, soren kierkegaard, gk chesterton, fyoder dostoievski, leo tolstoy, simone weil, daniel berrigan, walter rauschenbusch, jim wallis, peter berger, elie weisel, assorted liberation theologians, even bono, patti smith, jk rowling, and the dalai lama, etc - robust, earthy and reflective people who have looked at and tasted the darkness in life - I find their engagement with religion to be compelling, if not always sharing the particulars of their theologies, case by case. And personally I find it richer and more satisfying than what comes out of the atheist community (perhaps because the latter is so young and has been underground), with albert camus a powerful exception. So it's not all evangelical/biblicist christianity vs. hard atheism. Some of the most clear eyed ethicists work in a religious philosophical and academic framework. And some dont.
To me, truth has to add up, but the big ones also have to glimmer and resonate a bit. I call that shiney vibey bit God. It makes things richer.

But I agree that we don't need a god for objective morality, or that there is objective morality. But it helps, as it is a lens into the human experience, and a way of being in the world that gives equal weight to head, heart, hunches, intuition, emotion, etc. Works for me. But then I'm not nuts. so let's weed out the nuts rather than marginalize religion. That's a mistake that the french revolutionaries through the communists all make. It's a pity.

I hope that helps and is somewhat grokworthy.

PS: it's GOOD that you're questioning your atheism. I'm questioning my theism. I hope we both never stop.


Last edited by Slopeshoulder on Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:31 pm; edited 6 times in total

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:15 pm
Reply
Re: I am seriously questioning my atheism

Like this post
Haven wrote:
However, there is one thing that I have been unable to account for under atheism: morality. Atheists almost invariably state that moral values and duties are not objective facts, but are simply subjective statements of preference and have no ontological value. That is, of course, until we are presented with cases of true evil, such as the Holocaust, the atrocities of Pol Pot, or the horrible psychopathic serial killings of individuals like Jeffery Dahmer. Then we as atheists tacitly appeal to objective moral values and duties, saying that individuals who commit should be severely punished (even executed) for doing "evil," saying that they "knew right from wrong."

We don't need objective morality to do this. We don't need a magical referee deity, and we don't need to think that our opinions are reflective of some cosmic righteousness. We humans are imperfect beings, and things like what century we're born in and what happens to us when we're children and various medical conditions can cause us to have wildly different ideas of what is moral. In many ways, we are lucky to have survived and thrived for this long. Over the years we've become introspective enough to figure out that most people like being alive and being happy, and that when we all try to get along in a certain way that it works out better for everyone in this respect. So most of us try to convince each other of what we figure are the best ways to behave, and come together to agree to try to behave a certain way and correct or punish those who do things detrimental to this. It's an imperfect system, constantly changing as we learn more. We look back on past morality with distaste, and a thousand years from now many of the things we don't even think about may well be seen as barbaric when viewed from the moral perspective of the future.

All we can do is do our best. It would be nice, and it would be easier, if there was a magical cosmic man who wrote down a book of rules for us to follow. But sometimes the things we really want just aren't real. The world is rarely as simple as we would like it to be.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:23 pm
Reply

Like this post
Why is a God necessary for moral facts to exist?

Let us back up a moment to one of the great philisophical questions posed to theists in history, the Euthyphro dilemma. Is it good because God loves it or does God love it because it is good?

If it is good because God loves it, there are no objective moral facts. They are subordinate to the nature of God and subject to his will. If God were to cease loving it or were to have loved something else instead, then morality would be different. At this point what we think of as moral facts would be better construed as moral laws, in the same sense as legislation, where it is the result of the fiat of the authority, not a brute fact.

Conversely, if God loves it because it is good, then the good exists independently already. What which is right, just, etc. already is such and it does not require God as a source. It might require God as an enforcer, someone to dole out righteous justice, but what is good is good, regardless of God.

Now, there are a number of people who try to claim there are alternatives but I have not seen one that both satisfactorally addresses the question posed or actually pulls itself off of one of those two pathes.

Further, there are a multitude of moral theories that do not hinge on a divine presence such as the Categorical Imperative or Utilitarianism. Why should the source of these as moral facts be any harder to accept than the God you are pondering? Why cannot the fact their are sentient beings in the world be sufficient to create a moral fact or perhaps even simply recognize one that exists independently of them? We discovered geometry, why not morality?

Edit: My point, overall, is twofold. First, God's existence or nonexistence doesn't actually help in any way in getting to objective morality, and indeed may preclude it if God is actually omnipotent. Second, there are systems that allow for objective morality to exist, either as a brute fact of the universe to be discovered or as an emergent property of the interaction of reasoning beings.


Last edited by Abraxas on Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:39 pm; edited 1 time in total

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:24 pm
Reply
Re: I am seriously questioning my atheism

Like this post
Haven wrote:
Disclaimer: This post may be out of place on the Christianity and Apologetics forum (even though it does have some relation to Christianity), if it is, I apologize and ask that it be moved to a more appropriate place on the forum. However, I do intend this thread to be a discussion, if not a debate, so I felt this was the best place for it.

As many of you know, I am an ex-evangelical Christian and a current atheist. By "atheist," I mean I lack belief in god(s) of any kind, although I do not assert that there are definitely no gods. Since departing from Christianity, everything has made so much more sense: an eternal Universe (defined as the totality of natural existence) explained existence, evolution explained the diversity of life on earth, the absence of god(s) explained the problems of evil, inconsistent revelation, and so on.

However, there is one thing that I have been unable to account for under atheism: morality. Atheists almost invariably state that moral values and duties are not objective facts, but are simply subjective statements of preference and have no ontological value. That is, of course, until we are presented with cases of true evil, such as the Holocaust, the atrocities of Pol Pot, or the horrible psychopathic serial killings of individuals like Jeffery Dahmer. Then we as atheists tacitly appeal to objective moral values and duties, saying that individuals who commit should be severely punished (even executed) for doing "evil," saying that they "knew right from wrong." But if right and wrong are simply statements of subjective opinion, then how can we say that others knew "right from wrong" and are accountable for their actions? If relativism is true, they simply had differing opinions from the majority of human beings. However, it seems obvious to me (and to the vast majority of others, theist and atheist alike) that this is absurd -- the monsters who carried out the aforementioned acts really, objectively did evil.

Given this, the only reasonable conclusion is that moral facts and imperatives exist.

However, atheism appears to offer no framework for moral facts. Because of this, a few weeks ago, I started up a discussion on Wielenbergian moral realism, which states that objective moral values are simply "brute facts" that exist without any explanation. However, others rightly pointed out that the existence of "brute facts" is ontologically problematic and that the best explanation (on atheism) is that morality is simply subjective. Additionally, even if atheistic moral facts existed, the Humeian problem of deriving an "ought" from an "is" would preclude them from acting as moral imperatives; commands which human beings are obligated to follow.

In light of these airtight logical objections to atheistic moral realism, I was forced to abandon my position on moral facts and tentatively adopt moral relativism. However, relativism still seems problematic. After all, if morality is subjective, no one person can accuse another of failing to recognize the difference between "right and wrong," however, it is obvious to me (and, I would suspect, to other atheists as well) that right or wrong really objectively (not subjectively) exist.

The only rational conclusion I can seem to come up with is that there is a (are) transcendent moral lawgiver(s) who both grounds moral facts and issues binding moral commands on all humanity; i.e., God(s). This echoes evangelical Christian philosopher William Lane Craig's moral argument, which syllogism reads:

WLC wrote:
Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist
Conclusion: Therefore, God exists


Premises 1 and 2 seem bulletproof -- (1) was demonstrated earlier in this post, leaving (2) as the only premise to attack. However, (2) seems to be as obvious as a hand in front of my face. The conclusion necessarily follows from (1) and (2), so is there any rational reason for me to reject the conclusion of the argument?

Remember, I am no believer of any kind. I am a staunch, educated, informed atheist, and I am well aware of the philosophical arguments against God(s), such as the problem of evil, the dysteleological argument, the problem of omniscience, etc. I'm also well aware of the plentiful empirical evidence against the existence of God(s), for instance, evolution, mind-body physicalism, etc. These are the reasons I reconverted from Christianity in the first place. However, I don't see way around this problem other than to accept either that our apparently obvious sense of moral facts is somehow mistaken, or that (a) theistic being(s) exist.

Debate question: Are my issues with atheism legitimate? Can atheism provide a coherent moral framework other than nihilism, relativism, or subjectivism? Do these problems really present evidence for theism? Is William Lane Craig right? Is this a real problem for atheism, or are my (our) emotions simply overriding my (our) rationality?

Feel free to present evidence for or against atheism, Christianity, or any religious or nonreligious perspective in this thread.


Why, what is wrong with 'sujecttvism', because, if you notice, that is exactly what Theists practice, even though they attribute their subjective morality to a 'higher authority'.

However, there is a basis for secular morality. It is known as 'Empathy and Reciprocal Altruism .

It's a really big and important thing you know.. this little emotion call 'Empathy'. It encourages people to do good , for the sake of doing good... and inspired the Golden Rule.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:40 pm
Reply
Re: I am seriously questioning my atheism

Like this post
Haven wrote:
Disclaimer: This post may be out of place on the Christianity and Apologetics forum (even though it does have some relation to Christianity), if it is, I apologize and ask that it be moved to a more appropriate place on the forum. However, I do intend this thread to be a discussion, if not a debate, so I felt this was the best place for it.

As many of you know, I am an ex-evangelical Christian and a current atheist. By "atheist," I mean I lack belief in god(s) of any kind, although I do not assert that there are definitely no gods. Since departing from Christianity, everything has made so much more sense: an eternal Universe (defined as the totality of natural existence) explained existence, evolution explained the diversity of life on earth, the absence of god(s) explained the problems of evil, inconsistent revelation, and so on.

However, there is one thing that I have been unable to account for under atheism: morality. Atheists almost invariably state that moral values and duties are not objective facts, but are simply subjective statements of preference and have no ontological value. That is, of course, until we are presented with cases of true evil, such as the Holocaust, the atrocities of Pol Pot, or the horrible psychopathic serial killings of individuals like Jeffery Dahmer. Then we as atheists tacitly appeal to objective moral values and duties, saying that individuals who commit should be severely punished (even executed) for doing "evil," saying that they "knew right from wrong." But if right and wrong are simply statements of subjective opinion, then how can we say that others knew "right from wrong" and are accountable for their actions? If relativism is true, they simply had differing opinions from the majority of human beings. However, it seems obvious to me (and to the vast majority of others, theist and atheist alike) that this is absurd -- the monsters who carried out the aforementioned acts really, objectively did evil.

Given this, the only reasonable conclusion is that moral facts and imperatives exist.

However, atheism appears to offer no framework for moral facts. Because of this, a few weeks ago, I started up a discussion on Wielenbergian moral realism, which states that objective moral values are simply "brute facts" that exist without any explanation. However, others rightly pointed out that the existence of "brute facts" is ontologically problematic and that the best explanation (on atheism) is that morality is simply subjective. Additionally, even if atheistic moral facts existed, the Humeian problem of deriving an "ought" from an "is" would preclude them from acting as moral imperatives; commands which human beings are obligated to follow.

In light of these airtight logical objections to atheistic moral realism, I was forced to abandon my position on moral facts and tentatively adopt moral relativism. However, relativism still seems problematic. After all, if morality is subjective, no one person can accuse another of failing to recognize the difference between "right and wrong," however, it is obvious to me (and, I would suspect, to other atheists as well) that right or wrong really objectively (not subjectively) exist.

The only rational conclusion I can seem to come up with is that there is a (are) transcendent moral lawgiver(s) who both grounds moral facts and issues binding moral commands on all humanity; i.e., God(s). This echoes evangelical Christian philosopher William Lane Craig's moral argument, which syllogism reads:

WLC wrote:
Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist
Conclusion: Therefore, God exists


Premises 1 and 2 seem bulletproof -- (1) was demonstrated earlier in this post, leaving (2) as the only premise to attack. However, (2) seems to be as obvious as a hand in front of my face. The conclusion necessarily follows from (1) and (2), so is there any rational reason for me to reject the conclusion of the argument?

Remember, I am no believer of any kind. I am a staunch, educated, informed atheist, and I am well aware of the philosophical arguments against God(s), such as the problem of evil, the dysteleological argument, the problem of omniscience, etc. I'm also well aware of the plentiful empirical evidence against the existence of God(s), for instance, evolution, mind-body physicalism, etc. These are the reasons I reconverted from Christianity in the first place. However, I don't see way around this problem other than to accept either that our apparently obvious sense of moral facts is somehow mistaken, or that (a) theistic being(s) exist.

Debate question: Are my issues with atheism legitimate? Can atheism provide a coherent moral framework other than nihilism, relativism, or subjectivism? Do these problems really present evidence for theism? Is William Lane Craig right? Is this a real problem for atheism, or are my (our) emotions simply overriding my (our) rationality?

Feel free to present evidence for or against atheism, Christianity, or any religious or nonreligious perspective in this thread.


G'day Haven.

Both 'right' and 'wrong' are subjective terms and only have value as a description IN RELATIONSHIP to what is looking to be achieved by the individual, or how we perceive ourselves IN RELATIONSHIP to what has occurred.

There is a problematic issue with the quote of WLC. Firstly, it assumes the existence of "God" IN RELATIONSHIP to "Objective moral values and duties". Secondly, it assumes that "Objective moral values and duties" exist.

The whole quote can be changed by changing one word and making a couple of grammar corrections ...


WLC wrote:
Premise 1: If God YOU do es not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist
Conclusion: Therefore, God YOU exist s


... while still containing the assumption of "Objective moral values and duties".

So what does this mean ?

Nothing really.

Although it might also point to YOU being the "transcendent moral lawgiver" in YOUR life.

So what purpose do we have in making 'moralistic' choices in our lives ?

Maybe it is as simple as declaring WHO WE ARE in relationship to what has occurred.

For example ...

You punch someone in the face.

I see this and choose to view what you did as 'wrong' IN RELATIONSHIP to the belief that I hold that all individuals have the 'right' to be free of violence from another individual (except in an act of self-defence).

I then have a choice to make as to WHO I AM going to BE, and therefore what I will BE doing (acting out) IN RELATIONSHIP to what has occurred (I am a BEING, not a doing, and my doing comes from state of BEING).


It is from our individual BEliefs that we make the determination of what is 'right' or 'wrong'. In other words, who we choose to BE in any given situation is determined by the principle BEliefs that we have, and therefore it is our BEliefs that determine whether or not we perceive something as 'right' or 'wrong'.

So far, I haven't recognised where "God" fits into this except as a theoretical proposition of individuals attempting to determine for me what my beliefs should or shouldn't be, and how I should or shouldn't interact with them and all of life. It appears that such a theoretical proposition is simply a way in which other individuals are attempting to control WHO I AM choosing to BE.

Personally, I prefer to make my own choices for myself without having such choices dictated to me by a theoretical proposition, or other individuals.

So, if I am to BE self-determined, then it would be 'wrong' for me to bow down to the dictates of others, for then I would no longer BE self-determined. Therefore, I am 'right' to dismiss such theoretical propositions proposed by others that attempt to remove my self-determination.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Display posts from previous:   

Goto page 1, 2, 3 ... 49, 50, 51  Next

Jump to:  
Facebook
Tweet

 




On The Web | Ecodia | Hymn Lyrics Apps
Facebook | Twitter

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group.   Produced by Ecodia.

Igloo   |  Lo-Fi Version